Merkel, Netanyahu address differences over Iran n-deal

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Berlin, June 5 (IANS) German Chancellor Angela Merkel and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons but disagreed on the means to that end.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Merkel on Monday said before the UN-sponsored deal, Iran had been close to developing such weapons and that the deal would guarantee “more transparency”, Xinhua reported.

Netanyahu was in Europe to persuade allies to support his call for changing the Iran nuclear deal and pushing Iran out of Syria.

Merkel pleaded for maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran despite the withdrawal of the US, in order to prevent arming the Islamic republic with nuclear weapons.

However, Netanyahu said the deal would give Iran permission to develop “unlimited” amounts of enriched uranium in the future in return for not enriching uranium now, which he described as unacceptable.

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Netanyahu called on the world to impose economic sanctions on Iran, accusing Iran of receiving money to wage war, as a result of the nuclear deal and foreign investments flowing into Iran.

“We are united in the goal that Iran should never be allowed to receive nuclear weapons,” said Merkel at the press conference, who added that differences existed only in the way to reach this goal.

Merkel said the two countries didn’t see eye-to-eye on the topic but insisted that there was consensus about ending Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Moreover, Merkel reiterated that Israel and Palestine can continue to rely on a two-state solution.

“At the moment, I think there is a very complicated situation where there are no talks,” Merkel said, referring to the recent conflicts and the dispute over the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US.

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When answering a journalist’s question about when Israel would cease occupying Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu said Israel was willing to negotiate a peace settlement but added that the Gaza Strip was ruled by Hamas and others who “called for Israel’s destruction”.

–IANS

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